Friday, 13 May 2016

Rival Lines: Van Gaal has failed to bring the fear factor back to United

Rival Lines
Match Preview
Man Utd v AFCB
Blogger Interview: Old Trafford Faithful
Twitter: @OTFiathful

Well we made it to the last game of the season and Man Utd may need to win the game for their hopes to get into the top four but it is a mighty relief that AFCB don't face needing any points to avoid relegation. So when I spoke to Jordan Street, who writes for the Old Trafford Faithful website, having not known the result of the final match at the Boleyn stadium, my thoughts were that things might have turned out rather well for the Red Devils with Bournemouth visiting Old Trafford in the final game of the season.

CC: What has it been like as a Man Utd fan to see your side not playing with the verve and intensity of Man Utd teams of old - has your respect for Fergie gone even higher?

OF: Well it has been a bit of an odd few years for Manchester United. David Moyes never looked good enough, but Louis van Gaal was expected to bring that fear factor back to Old Trafford. That hasn’t happened whatsoever, and it shows just how much of an influence Sir Alex Ferguson was on this group of players. He’ll always be the best ever, there is no question about that.

CC: If a big offer comes in for Wayne Rooney over the summer from China would you be pleased to wish him all the best and buy some new players with the transfer fee?

OF:  Its tough. Wayne Rooney has spearheaded United’s attack for a decade now, and despite that i’ve never seen a player here divide the fans like him. I’m a huge fan of his and I would love to see him at United for a few more years yet. He seems to be thriving in this new midfield role, and without sounding too big-headed, United aren’t short of the money.

CC: If David de Gea is off to Real Madrid will a goalkeeper signing be the most important this summer?

OF: Without doubt. We have some talented keepers on our books, like Sam Johnstone and Joel Pereira, but it’d be cruel to throw them straight in at the deep end. I’d love to see Marc Andre Ter-Stegen at Manchester United. I’d also try and get Keylor Navas in. Perhaps some sort of swap deal with Real Madrid?

CC: Luis van Gaal might have started to get the team playing well enough to win a trophy and even get in the top four but is that enough for him to keep his job?

OF: Again, this is a hard one. If we’re being brutally honest, he should lose his job regardless. United fans have been spoilt for twenty years now, and for 99% of clubs on the planet, a spot in the top four and an FA Cup trophy would be a hugely successful season. Unfortunately for Van Gaal that isn’t the case at Old Trafford, and we could well see him sacked when the season ends.

CC: Are the expectations of the Man Utd fans set too high?

OF: Without question. I’ve been born and raised in Manchester, and grown up with United winning title after title. The expectations here are ridiculously high, and the pressure it puts on the players and coaching staff is immense.

CC: Does the progress of Marcus Rashford and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson make you wonder if there are any other U21 players at United who should be given a go?

OF: I consider myself quite knowledgeable in terms of Manchester United’s youth products. Rashford always had it in him, but Borthwick-Jackson really did come out of nowhere. There are so many academy graduates at the moment at United that have the potential to go an awful long way in this game. The biggest of the bunch is Timothy Fosu-Mensah, but keep an eye out for Callum Gribbin who will certainly come through over the next few years.

CC: Are Man Utd a long way from making a challenge from the title next season and is it as simple as a managerial change?

OF: Yes and no. We have some real gems in our squad. David de Gea, Chris Smalling and Anthony Martial to name a few. Around them we have plenty of solid players. If Manchester United can keep hold of the aforementioned trio, bring in a couple of world class talents and get rid of some deadwood, we’d be more than capable of mounting a serious challenge - even with Louis van Gaal.

CC: Which game disappointed you most this season for Man Utd and why?

OF: Norwich City at home. They beat us 2-1 and we were just awful. Unfortunately for Louis van Gaal situations like that have happened far too often. The 2-1 defeat away at Bournemouth, losses to Swansea and Sunderland and the last minute draw away at Newcastle. Oh what could have been...

CC: How do you expect Man Utd to line up against AFC Bournemouth?

OF: Anthony Martial should be back, so he’ll be raring to go. They’ll be no Marouane Fellaini so we’ll likely see Morgan Schneiderlin grab a start. Putting those couple of players aside, it’ll be pretty much same old same old.

This is the XI we’re likely to see:
De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Blind, Rojo; Schneiderlin, Carrick; Mata, Lingard, Martial; Rashford.

Cheers for having me.

CC:  It's been a pleasure chatting to you Jordan and I am sure my readers will enjoy reading the articles that are already looking towards the FA Cup final and the return of Luke Shaw. I admit Man Utd are not my favourite side, but I haven't found it particularly pleasing to see such a great team struggle to hit top form for much of the season. I want such clubs to do well in Europe and it's disappointing when English teams look well below par compared to our continental counterparts. In the Premier League though it almost lessens the win that AFCB had against Man Utd when other teams can manage it too. You need big teams to be almost like granite and with Chelsea and to a lesser extent Man City and Arsenal failing to live up to expectations it has been a season for the teams that don't usually grab the headlines. The one thing I am sure of though is that Man Utd will come back stronger as will several other teams next season, so enjoy the day up at Old Trafford no matter what the score.

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